By Tim Royner: Following his 4th round stoppage win over journeyman Tom Little (10-7, 3 KOs) last Saturday night at the O2 Arena, in London, England, former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion David Price (23-6, 19 KOs) will be fighting next on March 30 in Liverpool, UK, possibly against former WBA ‘regular’ heavyweight champion Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne (27-1, 24 KOs).
Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn says Price, 35, will definitely be fighting on March 30 on his card in Liverpool on that night. He wants ‘Big Daddy’ Browne if possible. Whether that’s possible remains to be seen.
Hearn says Matchroom fighter Dave Allen also wants to fight Browne as well. It could come down to which of the two heavyweights that Hearn is willing to negotiate a fight for. With Allen being one of Hearn’s Matchroom fighters, it would seem that he be the guy that he would look to setup a fight with Browne rather than Price, but you never know.
Price stopped Little in the 4th round last Saturday night in a fight that a lot of boxing fans thought was halted too early by referee Kieran McCann. Price landed a hard right hand that clearly stunned Little, but appeared to be fine at the time that the referee McCann waived the fight off. The crowd booed loudly, letting the referee know that they didn’t agree with how quickly he halted the contest. Hearn said that he too thought the stoppage was too quick.
“They want someone out cold, and the ref was trying to protect him,” Hearn said to IFL TV about the fans being upset at the quick stoppage of the Price vs. Little fight. “I felt it was definitely too early, the stoppage. They do,that’s what they want. They want to see a brutal knockout. So that’s why they boo. I understand that. I thought it was a great performance from Price. I thought it was a decent performance from Tom Little, and I’ll give him another fight for sure.”
Price, 6’8″, looked in better shape at 253 pounds last Saturday than the 265 lbs that he weighed for his previous bout against Russian Sergey Kuzmin on September 22. Price was stopped in the 4th round in that contest due to a bicep injury. He came into the fight with the problem, and it eventually led to the bout needing to be stopped. Price looked good against Kuzmin despite not being 100 percent. Price says that he thinks he would have beaten Kuzmin if he’d been healthy for the fight. The unbeaten Kuzmin (14-0, 11 KOs) is ranked #11 WBA, #13 IBF and #15 WBC. A victory over Kuzmin would have put Price in the top 15 in the world rankings, which is where he needs to be for him stay in the hunt for big money fights against top contenders in the division.
Price’s weight is considerably less than the 275 lbs he weighed for his fight against Christian Hammer last year in February 2017. Price looked too heavy in that fight, and his stamina wasn’t sufficient for him to win the fight. Price had the highly ranked world level contender Hammer down in the 5th round. But in the process of trying to stop him, Price gassed out and wasn’t able to get his second wind. Hammer then came on to stop him in the 7th. It was a fight that Price could have won easily if he’d been in shape to fight hard. Hammer was there to be beaten by him.
“Price will come out. I’ll probably box him on March 30th in Liverpool,” Hearn said. “We’re doing a big show. He wants Lucas Browne. So we’ll see. Price is entertaining. He’s always one shot away from being knocked out. He’s also the hardest puncher in the division. I think he deserves all the chances he gets. After that, he’ll get another chance of sorts,” Hearn said of Price.
The way that Hearn was speaking, he didn’t too sure whether he would be able to make the Price vs. Browne fight for the card in Liverpool on March 30. Browne was recently knocked out by Hearn fighter Dillian Whyte in the 6th round on March 24 at the O2 Arena in London. After that knockout loss, Browne might be a little cautious about agreeing to fight a guy with even better punching power than Whyte.
Browne has won his last two fights in beating Junior Pati and Julius Long. He might not be ready to fight someone with the kind of punching power that Price possesses. It’s a good fight for Browne though. If he can beat Price, then it will give him some attention in the boxing world. Browne certainly has the punching power to get Price out of there if he can and some of his shots. It would be the type of fight where the guy that lands their shot first wins. Price will have the size, power and speed advantage over Browne. It’ll be an interesting match-up if Hearn can set that one up for March 30. It’ll depend on the money obviously, and whether Browne fancies the fight. Price clearly wants it.
“The crowd wanted to see him on his back,” Price said to IFL TV about the boxing fans at the O2 wanting to see his fight with Tom Little go a little longer. “That’s the reality of it. He lost the fight, but he can come again,” Price said.
The crowd saw that Little, 31, looked like he wasn’t that hurt last Saturday night, so they were naturally unhappy at the referee Kieran McCann step in to stop the contest before the conclusion of the match. Little looked like he might have been able to weather the storm if not for the referee jumping in to halt the bout.
“I seen a couple of comments he made,” Price said about Lucas Browne. “I called him out on Twitter. I’ve seen him say I’ve got no heart, no chin, and no stamina. Lucas Browne is the one I want.”
It’s a good fight between Browne and Price. It’s a 50-50 fight that is hard to predict. Price has been knocked out by guys with considerably less punching power than Browne in the past, so this would be a dangerous fight for him, but one that would give his sagging career a big boost. Browne has been saying what a lot of boxing fans have been saying in commenting on Price’s stamina and his shaky punch resistance.
It’s unclear why Price is upset at Browne saying what is pretty obvious to all boxing fans about his stamina and his chin not being up to the mark at times.
“I’d rather be in a fight where it’ 60-40, 70-30 in my favor rather than taking one for more money, but it’s in your opponent’s favor,” Price said about him not liking the idea of being the underdog in big fights. “I’m not in the strongest position. I’ve lost six times. I’m not an unbeaten fighter. When the time comes for a big opportunity, I’ll have a bit of momentum. It’ll give me the opportunity to take the big one instead of going in as a big underdog and hoping for the best,” Price said.
Until he can turn things around with his career, Price is going to need to get used to him being seen as the underdog when being put in big fights. The fact is, Price has shown that he cannot be counted on to defeat the better heavyweights. Price’s knockout losses to Alexander Povetkin, Sergey Kuzmin, Christian Hammer, Erkan Teper and Tony Thompson have shown that he’s not good enough in the chin and stamina department for him to be seen as a favorite when matched against good opposition. Hammer, Kuzmin and Teper aren’t considered highly talented fighters, and yet they were all able to knockout Price. What does that tell you?
“It’s disappointing that I didn’t go past the British and Commonwealth level,” 2008 British Olympian Price said in reflecting on the state of his nine-year pro career. I feel like my best is yet to come. My career has been a bit of a roller-coaster. I’m on the home stretch now. If I felt like my reactions were going, I’d call it a day,” Price said.
Price looks pretty much like the same fighter that lost twice to Tony Thompson in 2013. The main difference in the way that Price fights now compared to the way he did during his best years as a pro from 2009 to 2013 is the way he doesn’t jump on his opponents from the opening the bell like he used to. Price is capable of coming out of the blocks full steam, throwing everything he’s got to steam through his opponents, but he doesn’t do that anymore. You can argue that Price would be better off going back to the way he used to fight. If Price fought like that, he probably would have been able to avoid being stopped by Teper, Hammer, Thompson, Kuzmin and Povetkin. Price’s mistake in those fights was fighting slowly, being tentative and letting those guys hang around long enough to get to his shaky chin.
“If I lost tonight [against Tom Little], that would be it. No doubt about it. This was one to get me going again,” Price said.
A defeat at the hands of Little would have been devastating to Price’s career. There’s no way he could have absorbed that kind of a loss, and continued to be someone that could bounce back from it. It would have likely wrecked Price’s confidence, such as it is, to lose to a fighter like Tom Little.
“If I’d been in shape [and not injured], that would have been an easy fight,” Price said about his fight with Sergey Kuzmin. “He was nothing special.”
It would be good to see Price face Kuzmin in a rematch in the near future. Right now, Price needs to get some important wins under his belt to build up his confidence, and then he can look to fight Kuzmin in a rematch. Price needs to make sure that if he gets injured during training camp, like he did for the Kuzmin fight, then he should postpone the match rather than going into it less than 100%.
“There’s big fights to be had,” Price said in looking at his future outlook.
There are big fights for Price if he can stop losing, and change his fighting style. It’s good that Price was able to lose a lot of weight and improve his stamina for the Little fight. Price didn’t look fatigued last Saturday night, and he wasn’t out of breath after the fight the way he was in his match against journeyman Kamil Sokolowski last year in December. Price’s stamina looked horrible against Sokolowski. Against Little, Price looked like the fighter that he’s been nine years ago when he first turned pro. He looked slender, powerful and capable of throwing punches all night long without gassing out. That’s the way he needs to be for him to win against the upper echelon fighters in the division. Price’s loss to Hammer last year was directly related to his conditioning. Had Price been in tip top shape like he was against Little, he would have won that fight. Likewise, Price would have beaten Tony Thompson in their rematch in 2013 if he’s been in good condition.